En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - May 12, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Rooting desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) from a cutting
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I found a desert willow with great bloom color and I am trying to root a cutting. I have never tried to root a cutting but I have read that desert willow is easy to root. My first attempt was in a vase with rooting hormone and the leaves died and I could not see any roots. I did see some very fine hair-like structures that looked more like a form of decay. My second attempt has been in plain water but I have gotten the same result. The first cuttings were before buds appeared and the second had buds on them. Am I attempting this at the wrong time of year? I have set the vase/containers in an area of the house that gets a lot of light but it is not direct sunlight. Any advice is appreciated.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is going to refer you to the native plant propagation expert, Jill Nokes.  In her book How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (available for sale in the Wildflower Center store and in most libraries and bookstores) this is what she says about rooting cuttings of Chilopsis linearis (desert willow):

"Desert Willow is easily rooted from semihardwood cuttings of the current season's growth taken in late May and June.  The cuttings should be treated with 5,000 IBA in alcohol solution and kept under intermittent mist... . As the cuttings begin to callus and form roots, reduce the frequency of misting to encourage the cuttings to harden off and avoid stem rot.  Cuttings usually root in 2-3 weeks.

Root development is best in a light soil mix rather than straight perlite alone.  Roots tend to be brittle and a soil blend encourages branching." (p.201)

To make a 1.0% solution of IBA (which is 10,000 ppm), dissolve 5 grams of the IBA in 1 pint (16 oz.) of 70% isopropyl alcohol.  To make the 5,000 ppm solution you mix one part of the 1.0% solution with an equal amount of isopropyl solution, according to Nokes. (p.52)

You could also just buy a pre-made rooting gel or powder (e.g.,  Clonex, Rootone, etc.) at a garden center.

Storing the cuttings in your house where there is lots of light, but not direct sunlight is good.  The best temperature range for rooting the cuttings is 70-80°.


 

More Propagation Questions

Separate pups on Manfreda variegata in Tucson
July 20, 2009 - Can you tell me the best way to separate pups on a Manfreda variegata? The first ones we tried were very close to the main plant. Your help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in Hampton VA?
July 12, 2014 - I gave my mom Blue Bonnet seeds for her yard in Hampton VA. She is on a mission to have no lawn and loves flowers. The seeds say to plant in Texas August-November. But, when should she plant them i...
view the full question and answer

Why is my yaupon tree not producing berries in Metairie La?
November 04, 2009 - What is the lifespan of a Yaupon Tree? We live in Louisiana, and our Yaupon would always get the white flowers in the Spring but never the red berries. Why is that?
view the full question and answer

How can I propagate Giant Ball Moss?
March 11, 2009 - Recommended methods for propagation of Giant Ball Moss? (Bromeliaceae, Tillandsia baileyi rose ex small) Thanks
view the full question and answer

Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
October 05, 2013 - How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center